Two New FERC Members May Skew Standard Market Design

By Published On: December 14, 2003

With the Senate confirming the appointments of Republican Joe Kelliher and Democrat Suedeen Kelly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission board November 7, chair Pat Wood might find himself without allies for his proposition that the federal government should maintain strong regulatory authority. Wood has championed federal power through standard market design despite opposition by states?primarily on the West Coast and in the South. The Senate was finally able to vote on the nominees after Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) removed their holds on a vote. Wyden, who put a hold on Kelliher?s vote back in March, said Kelliher ?doesn?t understand market impacts facing the West, and the consequences of Enron market manipulation on West Coast ratepayers.? Wood?s position is not likely to get much support from Kelliher and commissioner Nora Mead Brownell, who tend to find the less regulation the better. Kelly may side with Wood but will not have much clout, as she fills a position that has only one year remaining in its term. Commissioner William Massey is trying to get re-appointed to his position, which expires when Congress adjourns. ?I have my champions on Capitol Hill and I have my detractors,? he said. His votes to pursue alleged market manipulators in California and on regional transmission organizations are probably the culprits for ?no? votes on re-appointment, he explained. If his term is extended??miracles can happen,? he quipped?he will be Wood?s ally for strong federal oversight. He remains the official candidate of Democrats, with support from Senators Dianne Feinstein and Cantwell. Kelliher, a former senior adviser to Department of Energy secretary Spence Abraham, has also been under fire from environmentalists, who perceive him as a friend of the oil and coal industries. According to her law firm, Modrall Sperlin, Kelly has had ?strong support? for the FERC position from Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She was a New Mexico utility commissioner.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now